Jim Morris

The Trombonist/ Band leader and Co- producer of Valli Scavelli’s debut album “Floating”, featuring the shorter version of “Get off the Ground.”

Don, Valli, and I have been close friends since the mid seventies.

He is a combination philosopher, adventurer, explorer, composer and endlessly curious. She is a truly great singer, an exceptional cook, and the most cheerful and high-toned woman I’ve ever met.

I first heard Valli at a concert at “Celebrity Center” in Los Angeles, and was completely knocked out at the vocal quality. At the first opportunity I asked her to sing with my band, and as an added bonus got her husband Don too. He was invaluable as he created several arrangements that Valli could sing with us.

I don’t know how Don ran into Ken Kreisel who was experimenting with Direct to Disc recording. At any rate one of them contacted me about recording my band. I believe Valli was on one of those, but it never went beyond the experimental stage. I wound up with a very high quality recording of my band, and Ken and I became friends.

He came with his equipment to record my band at a Harbor College Concert. I can’t remember if Valli was on that. He also recorded us at his store on Wilshire Boulevard. I’ve lost those tapes somewhere in the intervening years. He was just a kid with amazing intelligence and competency. Without any reservation at all, I saw him take apart a ridiculously expensive tape recording machine, and improve its quality.

When Don decided to record Valli with a small group, Bobby Shew and I were asked to play in it. I also helped to produce the album. The first thing we agreed on was that we had to get away from a facility and an engineer who had no idea. "Sage and Sound" then became the recording site with the very fine engineering of the owner whose name I’ve forgotten. “Floating” was the product.

Later they were asked to do an album of “Scavelli sings Bessie Smith”. You would expect that Valli’s gorgeous vocal quality, and sensitive phrasing would be a most unlikely interpreter of Bessie. She is amazing. Could growl with the best of them. Don, of course, did the arrangements and keyboard playing. I had an interesting job because the trombone chair and sessions were divided between another trombonist and me.

At one time I was asked to complete an improvised solo that the other trombonist did. Some technical problem I suppose. Even he couldn’t tell where his playing stopped and mine started. Don and Valli had been, and continued doing small combo playing in the Los Angeles area.

I don’t know quite why Don decided to check out Puerto Rico where he had spent many years. He told me that it was amazing. As though he had never left. They moved there and immediately were accepted and are very busy to this day. Valli now does far more booking of acts for various venues than singing with Don. It’s a large increase in income, but a loss to those who never get to hear that wonderful voice.

I’m known mostly as a bass trombonist/ bandleader, but my work with Don was on tenor trombone. My band was recorded by MAMA Records and is available at Amazon.com titled “Montage”…. Jim (Brass Plus) Morris.

Two other CD’s are available at www.cdbaby.com one is “The Jim Morris Band”, and the other “Encore”, both can be found under my name.

It’s a ten piece jazz band with some of Los Angeles’ finest musicians. It could loosely be described as “Chamber jazz,” but actually doesn’t fit comfortably into any little box. Most often described as “Fresh and New”. The best way to describe it is to listen to the available sound clips at www.cdbaby.com

Jim Morris

www.cdbaby.com : Encore
www.cdbaby.com : The Jim Morris Band